Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal won his 78th ATP men's singles title at the Italian Open on Sunday. In this picture, Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy after winning the Men's final against Germany's Alexander Zverev at Rome's ATP Tennis Open tournament at the Foro Italico, in Rome, May 20, 2018. FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Leif Shiras is certain Rafael Nadal will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame owing to his achievements in his career thus far.

The Spaniard picked up his 78th ATP singles titles with victory over Alexander Zverev at the Italian Open in Rome on Sunday. It was his 56th on clay, making him arguably the greatest ever clay court player in the history of the game.

Nadal has won an unprecedented 10 titles at the French Open and is favorite to pick up his 11th when the main draw commences on May 28. Shiras, a former tennis player from the United States, is certain the Spaniard will be Hall of Famer when he calls time on his career, but has backed him to challenge Roger Federer in terms of singles titles won.

The Swiss maestro has 97 titles and is second on the list and is only behind Jimmy Connors, who has 109. Nadal overtook John McEnroe with his win at the Italian Open and Shiraz feels he will make a run to match his long-time rival, but is unsure if he can ever get past Connors’ mark.

Nadal is five years Federer’ junior and is well in a position to match the records set by the Swiss ace, but Shiraz questioned how long the 31-year-old will want to keep going.

“He’s going to end up in the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” Shiras said, as quoted on Tennis World USA. “Those are Hall of Fame numbers and he’ll definitely make a run at Roger’s numbers, but I’m not sure about Jimmy. ... We’ll see. I wonder if the emotion he felt was, ‘how many more years can I pull off these amazing wins’? He’s such a remarkable athlete.”

Nadal, meanwhile, has tipped Alexander Zverev, his Italian Open final opponent to be a Grand Slam winner sooner rather than later. The German has struggled at the major tournaments thus far in his career, but the 16-time Grand Slam winner is confident he will fare well in the coming years.

Despite holding three Masters Series titles and five other ATP titles, the 20-year-old has failed to go past the fourth round in 14 Grand Slam tournaments he has entered. Best of five sets has been a struggle for Zverev, but Nadal has backed him to overcome it and start adding major titles to his kitty in the next two years.

“If he's not playing well in Grand Slams during the next two years, you can come back to me and tell me you know anything about tennis,” Nadal said after his win over Zverev in Rome, as quoted on Tennis World USA.

“But, I believe that gonna be a different story. Tennis is tennis. It doesn't matter best of three, best of five. And playing best of five is a big advantage for the best players, and Sascha is one of the best players. So it's always a big advantage to him, that's my feeling. ... Tennis is tennis in Grand Slams or Masters 1000s or in any event. When you are able to win Masters 1000s, when you're able to compete well in all the events like he did already, still he didn't have the great result in Grand Slam yet because didn't happen,” he explained. “It was all a coincidence. It's impossible to don't have a great result in Grand Slam when you have the level that he has.”